Sign up for our Newsletter

Artful and satisfying, Cowfish checks all the boxes. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

A partnering of land and sea cuisines make for a smashing combo at Cowfish in Hampton Bays.

THE GIST: At the end of a winding alley behind a marina and a seafood shop is Cowfish, a two-level waterfront bar and restaurant overlooking the southern basin of the Shinnecock Canal. Owned by David and Rachel Hersh and open since 2012, it’s part of Rooted Hospitality Group (which includes neighboring Rumba, Flora and Fauna in Westhampton Beach and Rhum in Patchogue) led by culinary director Steven Tross and specializing in riffs on classic land-and-sea-sourced dishes in a picture-perfect inside/outside dining space.

THE VIBE: A wooden archway hung with the Cowfish mascot — a fish vertebrae with the skull of a bull — greets guests as they head into the softly lit dining room with rustic blue, white and brown accents. A wall of windows looks out onto the water, while another wall dedicated to rotating works from local artists sits adjacent to a small yet ample bar. Upstairs, the bright and airy secondary bar and outdoor patio is the perfect spot for soaking up that summer sun while sipping on whatever carefully crafted libation is in your Mason jar glass.

THE FOOD: As its name suggests, Cowfish is a mash-up of familiar steakhouse fare with hearty seafood classics, done with a twist. Appetizers are varied but user-friendly and there are always at least three proteins that can be added to salads. A handful of classic toppings for steaks (like sauteed onions, mushrooms or truffle butter) are readily available. There are burgers and a fish sandwich for those looking for a more low-key experience, plus a slew of shareable sides, ginormous desserts and a kids menu that covers the bases. 

Skillet Cornbread Served in a personal sized cast iron, this starter is golden brown on the outside and warm and crumbly on the inside with just the tiniest whisper of jalapeño. A baby ice cream scoop of honey butter melts atop, pooling out and into all those crummy nooks and crannies. 

The Wedge Heaping wedges of Boston bibb lettuces are piled six inches high and dotted with firm halves of grape tomatoes, chopped crispy bacon, a sprinkle of red onion and a dusting of crouton crumbs for crunch. But it’s that oh-so-generous dollop of heavenly home-made Danish blue cheese dressing (for real, you could bathe in it) that really brings it on home.

Jumbo Buffalo Shrimp  Golf-ball sized Gulf shrimp are lightly dredged, flash fried and tossed in a signature buffalo sauce. The latter starts off vegetal and mild, but slowly crescendos to a warming, perfectly pleasant level of heat. You not only want those chive-drenched blue cheese crumbles the shrimp are served upon, you almost need them.

Seared Ahi Tuna One-inch thick tuna steaks are hard seared for a sapid, crusty outside and a tender, medium-rare inside, and served stacked atop each other over a bed of pineapple and coconut fried rice. A welcome citrus soy drizzle of orange ponzu reduction offers great acidic relief for the rich fish, and the tangle of wasabi micro greens gives a pop of bright and balanced flavor.

Berkshire Pork Belly Bourbon barrel smoked fork-tender pork belly are glazed in a not-too-sweet maple miso barbecue sauce. The real surprise here is the accompanying shredded broccoli slaw, packed with a savory-meets-sweet flavor and offering textural counterpoint to the soft pork. It’s finished with an enormous chicharron in the center — crispy, crunchy and lighter than air.

Rotisserie Chicken Cowfish’s better-than-good rendition is inspired. Half a free-range chicken is generously seasoned in a peppery dry rub, roasted and shingled atop a hash of roasted seasonal veggies and doused with a chicken demi-glace. With extra crispy skin and a juicy interior, it’s hands down a winner winner, chicken dinner.

Cowfish, 258 East Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, 631-594-3868

Monday through Friday: noon to 10 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Happy Hour: Monday through Friday (at the bar only) from 3 to 5 p.m.


Instagram: @ cowfishhamptonbays